• OverThePylon

    OTP covers Ball State University sports from the blog perspective in the most overzealous manner possible, proving that as long as there is someone with enough free time you can obsess over anything.
  • Connect to OTP

  • OTP Messageboard

  • OTPcast on Itunes

  • OTPcast on Stitcher

  • Help the Pylon

  • Donate to OTP

    A donation to OTP helps keep the site afloat and Cards fans connected. 50% of all donations sent to Cardinal Varsity Club as well. Help the Cards and your favorite blog in one fell swoop!

  • Join Our Network

The Last Decade, in Sweet YouTube Form

We are 8 weeks away… 56 days… 1352 hours from the kickoff of Ball State’s 2010 campaign. Need to get yourself motivated? Want an excuse to think about football instead of the work you should be doing? Thought so. Enjoy….

And all those moments, all those memories, all those feelings that video reignites are just a few of the many reasons why this game is something I love. 56 days, Cards fans!

(Hat tip: The Wiz of Odds)

Know a ’10 Opponent: Purdue

In an effort to educate, preview, and most importantly, make fun of, the upcoming teams which dare play the Cardinals, OTP is proud to present the Know a ’10 Opponent series. Like we always caution, previewing and attempting to quantify the unquantifiable, especially two months away from the season is basically begging for failure, but we’ll fling some poo and see what sticks, shall we? I mean, after all, we predicted like 10 wins for BSU last season and we totally nailed that one, didn’t we? I can’t find the results, so let’s just go with that. So sit back, boys and girls, and know your ’10 opponents.

Purdue University Boilermakers
Let’s take a little trip, Cardinals fans, a trip down memory lane. It was 2008 and it was a lovely year. The Cards started out 3-0 after wins over Northeastern, Navy, and Akron. And then a mighty test loomed. A test that was a road date against a BCS conference team, a classification of team that Ball State had never defeated. But the winds of change were blowing, as well as a metric ton of hot air and bullshit from Bloomington. IU fans were borderline ridiculous the week leading up to the game so it was just desserts when we took their arrogance, disrespect, and hyperbole and collectively crammed it down their cramhole. 42-20. We haven’t forgotten.

This year, BSU will once again take its Cardinal show on the road as we invade Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, IN on September 18. Will this Ball State team be competitive? Can we hang with the Boilers? Will a miracle upset happen? Would it be an upset if it did? OPT’s thoughts: yes, yes, maybe, and a little. You’re welcome.

Talking to Boiler fans, or even BSU fans, and it seems as if Purdue is lauded as someone who has beaten our drum on more than a few occasions. And they have, to the tune of a 7-0 all-time record against BSU. The closest game was also the most recent, in 2006, with a margin of 10. Pointing to that game as a reason why we’ll be close is just as crazy as pointing to the 59-7 beatdown in 2004 as evidence that we’re due an assstomping. Neither gives any perspective whatsoever to this year’s matchup.

Ironically enough, there are a quite a few similarities between the Indiana game of 2008 and the Purdue game of 2010, besides the obvious conference affiliation. This is a Ball State team who has experienced the rowdiest of the rowdy road crowds last year at Auburn, the same way most of the team of 08 cut their teeth at Michigan and Nebraska. This is a Ball State team that is capable of great things just as they are capable of great mistakes. As we said with Indiana, if BSU shows up to play and Indiana makes mistakes then that was a game the Cardinals could win. The same can ultimately be said for this game. If both teams play to potential then it’s a likely Purdue win, as the talent gap from the MAC to the Big 10 is that severe. However, that’s the great thing about football… any given Saturday and anything can happen. Any fan from BSU expecting us to walk up and stomp a mudhole in some Boiler ass is fooling themselves, just as any Purdue fan who looks at last year’s 2-10 disaster as an indicator of the potential of the 2010 Cardinals and thinks this is anywhere close to the same team. In fact, Purdue should think that. Their fans, their students, their staff, their players, and really anyone associated with the football program. Yes… that’s it. There’s no reason to prepare or worry. Let’s go with that.

What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Purdue is a funny darn team, at least to me. In my head, I remember the Drew Brees and Curtis Painter years, the Kyle Orton years, the “Basketball on Grass” that people seemed to laude. But going back through the record books, it’s like Purdue was always just short of that next brass ring. Good team? Absolutely. Great team? Eh…. not so much. In the 2000s, Purdue has clocked in 6 winning seasons, 1 .500 season, and 3 losing seasons. Highest wins? 9 in 2003. Lowest? 4 in 2008.

The Man Who Wears the Headset
Purdue head coach Danny Hope enters his second year as the engineer on the Boiler express. His head coaching background isn’t that extensive as he’s only been the Purdue coach for a season, with a 5-7 record. Before that, he was the head coach at FCS Eastern Kentucky, with a 35-22 record. Hope is a former EKU alum and has spent his entire career hopping around from assistant to assistant position. Of note… he also coached at Louisville twice! Which of course makes us hate him even more. Nothing about Hope says that he will be as successful as former coach Joe Tiller, the first proponent of the spread offense at Purdue, but Hope should be fine to continue the good but not excellent tradition of Boiler football.

Last season, Hope’s premier, the Boilers were a middle of the pack (58th) scoring offense and a bottom third (89th) team in scoring defense. Purdue also was an exceptionally balanced team statistically last year, which will create problems for defenses. The addition of Marve may slant things toward the pass a bit, but expect the Boilers to still be a team capable of smash mouth old school Big 10 ball.

Players and Stats of Note
Perhaps the most interesting character in the Purdue cast for 2010 is QB Robert Marve. The transfer from Miami will take his first snaps as a Boiler QB in the fall, and Marve is one of those players that is just as likely to torch a team into submission as he is to make some critical mistake in a clutch situation. Marve has had his fair share of problems, academically and otherwise, and after a messy transfer now finds himself with a relative fresh start. We can only hope some of those demons rear their ugly head the week of the BSU game.

Qs and As
Whenever possible, we like to ask our fellow blogrificans if they would like to shed some light on their program. Purdue blog Hammer and Rails was kind enough to do so…

OverThePylon: So give us the real deal… most Purdue fans see BSU as the 2-10 failure from last year, right? Have you all forgotten about the 12-2 season already? There was another Indiana school who overlooked the Cardinals and Ball State as some sort of little brother in the football world up until the moment we beat them at home. How worried are the Boilermaker fans that little old BSU is going to give the Boilers a run for the money?
HammerAndRails: I think a player like MiQuale Lewis worries us a bit. We got torched by a strong running Northern Illinois team last season. If anything, that might hurt Ball State’s chances. The Huskies embarrassed us at home and this team will be focused to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, our run defense has been something short of awful for several seasons. If he can dominate and control he clock it will help Ball State’s chances more than anything.

I certainly haven’t forgotten about the 12-2 season. While beating Indiana isn’t that great since they are everyone’s little brother, I was more impressed by recent performances at Nebraska and Michigan. You guys certainly scared the bejesus out of both teams, especially Michigan when you nearly ruined the dream Michigan-Ohio State game of 2006. I would certainly take more pride in either of those games than beating Indiana.

OTP: The newest face for Purdue is QB Robert Marve, the former Miami Hurricane who transferred last year. What are most Boiler fans’ expectations of Marve and the offense under his control? More of the same from years past or a significantly increased presence of the passing game? Are we looking at the next Drew Brees/Curtis Painter here?
:Marve brings us an interesting element in that he has a stronger arm than Joey Elliott and he is probably the most mobile quarterback since Drew Brees. Since my wife is a Hurricane alum I saw his entire season at Miami and I was unimpressed at the time. He allegedly has settled down a bit and matured off the field since leaving Coral Gables. That’s a good thing because it was a major issue at The U. I saw him play once in person when we flew down for a game against Virginia Tech and he was good, but not great in that game. Granted, that was nearly two years ago, but it was one of his final on the field performances.

I think honestly you’ll see more balance between the run and the pass than before. Ralph Bolden rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season and Al-Terek McBurse is a player that can break out in the running game. Coach Hope seems to want more balance based on last season. Players like Justin Siller and Marve possibly taking snaps at quarterback also make them good runners.

OTP: RB Ralph Bolden started the year on fire, with 357 yards and 4 TDs in his first 2 games. In his final 9 he managed 578 yards and only 5 TDs. That seems a bit streaky to me. What gives? Will he be the straw that stirs the Purdue drink this fall or will it be the Robert Marve show?
HaR: There are major questions about Bolden playing at all because he tore his ACL in spring practice. It was the second time he has torn that ACL in his career, and he didn’t have surgery until May 4th. They have not officially ruled him out for the year, but I would be shocked if he was ready to play little more than four months after surgery. I suppose it is possible though.

Likely Ball State will see a couple of different looks. Al-Terek McBurse was the star of last year’s recruiting class. He was a four-star out of Florida and he got a few carries in the backfield with no significant yardage. He showed what is capable of by taking the second half kickoff back for a touchdown against Indiana. He’ll probably get most of the carries. Keith Carlos shifted from wide receiver to running back when Bolden went down, which was his JuCo position. Dan Dierking, a senior now, will likely get some carries. The wild card is Siller. After missing last season due to an academic suspension, this former quarterback has returned. He torched Michigan in 2008 with his running ability and we currently have him as a wide receiver. He started 2008 as a running back before moving back to quarterback when Elliott and Curtis Painter got hurt. That means we might see him in the Wildcat for a few plays.

OTP: WR Keith Smith strikes me as a big play receiver who is capable of taking over games. We unfortunately had that happen to us last year with BG’s Freddie Barnes. Tell our readers a bit about his style. Streaky speed guy on the outside? Possession guy across the middle? What’s he best at?
HaR: Smith is mostly a possession guy in the slot. He is the biggest slot receiver we have ever had though. I think he is a lot like Dustin Keller, our first round tight end in 2008. Keller was a matchup nightmare that could not be tackled one on one (and indeed had a highlight reel play in the 2006 game with Ball State). Keith is basically a big, strong guy with good hands that runs great routes. We want to get him the ball in space as much as possible because he can break tackles for big plays. That’s not bad for a guy that was originally a quarterback when recruited, then he became a safety. He even flashed that QB prowess a bit last year by throwing a touchdown pass on a trick play at Oregon in the final two minutes. We missed the two-point conversion to tie, but it was a hell of a play.

And yes, that means there is the possibility of us having three former quarterbacks on the field at the same time with Marve, Siller, and Smith. I am dreaming of the fun we can have with that.

OTP: The Boilers come into the BSU game after the season opener against Notre Dame and a week 2 FCS opponent. Am I crazy for thinking the Boilers may be a bit prone to overlook a team that was 2-10 last season and long thought to be the lowest of the low in Indiana college football? Taking that into account, are fans happy with just a win or do they need a very big drubbing of the Cardinals to feel ok about the Boilers going forward?
HaR: I think it depends on how things break in the Notre Dame game. Western Illinois was awful at 1-10 last year, so anything less than a blowout would have us concerned. I think we can take an Irish team that doesn’t have a real identity yet. That should be a very good game and test to see how far we have come.

I do think most fans expect to beat Ball state. I am a little concerned because of the experience that Ball State has returning. That experience can help the Cards improve in a hurry. You also have a pair of 1-AA teams before us, so you should come in at a confident 2-0. From our two MAC games (you and Toledo the following week) I think we have reason to fear Ball State more.

How Worried Are We?

Most Card fans will tell you that the Purdue game would be the 2nd toughest challenge on the schedule this fall as it’s on the road, a BCS opponent, and an in-state rival with talent and ability at key skill positions. Is it a game that’s destined for a blowout? I don’t think so, but remember what I said earlier about any given Saturday? If BSU comes out and plays mistake-free football while creating a few Boiler gaffes, then we may have a very special Saturday. If the reverse becomes reality and BSU miscues and mistakes are the flavor of the day then it’s going to be a very long day in West Lafayette. Hence, Code Red for this particular game, akin to marrying a Swedish supermodel and then cheating on her with everyone that even remotely looks at you or your golf bag. The odds of that going well are about one in 100 million. Dollars. HEY-O!

The Tacks-o-Brass
This is one of those challenging games where the Cardinal colored glasses have the potential to make a comeback. I would love to sit here and proudly proclaim that this is a toss up game, that the Cards will be competitive, that it is our game to lose, but I simply cannot do that in good faith. This game ultimately comes down to the Boilers. Play to potential and it’s a W. Make mistakes and it could easily by an L. Come on mistakes!

BSU News From the Interwebs

Me?! Fired?!? GRRRRRR!!!!

Occasionally in the offseason, blogs or sites will run previews and or pieces as part of a build up to the coming season. Consider it your e-tease for the football season right around the corner. This week saw two mentions of the Cardinals, both of which had a small touch from OTP, since we were asked to contribute a bit of information to both.

First up for Cardinals fans come from the Yahoo! Sports blog Dr. Saturday, as Doug Gillett checks in with his embattled coach series. Doug reached out to OTP for a bit of insight into the fans’ minds about Stan Parrish, making note of the fact that most second-year coaches wouldn’t be included on any sort of hot seat list, but Stan and the drastic turnaround from 12-0 to 2-10 raised some eyebrows.

You can check out the entire piece here, as well as OTP’s comments, which were plentiful. Ultimately, whenever the question is asked of us about the job security of Coach Parrish, we say there is no worry at all that he will be fired. Hopefully because of a remarkable turnaround in terms of wins this season, but also because the threadbare budget at BSU is what it is and is incapable of buying out any contract whatsoever. Either way, Stan’s safe for at least another year. But let’s hope for the wins, shall we?

Next up for linkage and previewage is the new CFB blog College Football Zealots. They asked for several key components of the 2010 Cardinals, like what is our biggest concerns (linebackers and oline) as well as who we would look to for the biggest impact who wasn’t around last year (Artis Chambers). You can check out the rest of the answers we gave and agree or disagree accordingly here. Enjoy yourself.

The final linkage to pass on for today is from Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants, one of the best CFB blogs out there, assuming you like humor. And Iowa. It’s their “Better Know a 2010 Opponent” series previewing the upcoming season for the Hawkeyes. Part one you can check out here and part two here. BHGP doesn’t seem to think the Cards are going to give the Hawkeyes much of a problem, and considering they’re a consensus Top 10 pick and we sucked something awful last year, I can certainly see why they would think that. The curious thing about teams that don’t have a national following or are a relative unknown entity is that the results of the prior year dictate the expectations of the current. That’s a dangerous game, and an especially dangerous one with this Ball State team. I wish I had something concrete or firm to throw back at people who think we will suckle from the losing teet again, but alas, there is no “Q.E.D. MFer” type of stat to throw at them. It’s just a gut feeling.

Friday Link Buffet

It’s Friday and time yet again for all the muck that’s fit to rake around the college football landscape. Taxi fights? Been there. Assaulting randoms? Yep… done that. Letting myself fly into a rage over a bratwurst? That’s a new one to me. However, had you picked a fight with us and tried to stand between us and some Carter’s Chicago Dogs, I might have to cut you. So far this offseason, no troubles like this for the BSU team… but it’s early.

  • Racism, Bratwursts, and Taxi-Vans… All in a Night’s Work in Athens: After the rash of problems in the SEC where making a roster is a good preamble to your name showing up in a police blotter I cannot say I am surprised that Georgia football players maybe possibly could have been allegedly perhaps involved in assault and battery in a taxi cab. No word on whether it was them, what Mark Richt thinks, or whether the brats were in fact delicious.
  • Apparently Lack of Success on the Field Makes Brian Kelly a Bit Testy: Kelly, after his first practice as head coach at Notre Dame seemed like quite the negative nelly. Good to see that despite the coaching change, a coach with an easily bristled public demeanor still patrols the sidelines.
  • Lane Kiffin Tightens the Reigns at USC: Surprising really that I would ever write the words Kiffin and tightens in the same sentence without the words Tennessee fans and noose not also there, but apparently Kiffykins is trying to limit who hangs out at USC football practices. Apparently you now need 24-hours notice to come observe, but no idea if that also applies to the boosters/money men/rapscallions that seemed to hang around and just drop money/houses/cars for anyone to pick up. Anyone who was a great athlete. Named Reggie Bush.

Around the Blogosphere:

  • Orson at EDSBS brings us the initial installment of the Fulmer Cup Big Board. Consider it the offseason national championship for law breakers, and East Carolina is in as an early leader.
  • Great stuff from John Clay about the football Wildcats and some video to boot of Joker Phillips’ first spring practice. Via John’s blog
  • First and probably last Dancing with the Stars content on OTP: Erin Andrews foxtrotting all over the place. Via The Big Lead

Friday Link Buffet

It’s Friday, it’s spring time, and finally we have a small trickle of news worth sharing. Of course, this will be short-lived for the next few weeks, until spring practices conclude across the country and the grizzly bear sized jones for football goes back into hibernation until summertime. But, like selecting your prey from Dill Street after penny pitchers, you take what you can get.

  • Urban Meyer Clearly Not Taking His Chill Pills: No one can that isn’t named Urban can say with any certainty what exactly the reason was for his pseudo leave of absence at the end of last season. Florida fans are hoping that outbursts fueled by rage were not the culprit, because if so, that leave of absence did nothing. Player makes statement, player gets quoted, statement borderline not pro-Tebow enough, Urban blows gasket, Urban threatens reporter. Looks like we’re back to normal in the SEC. And that’s a relief.
  • FIU’s Kendall Berry Stabbed to Death On Campus: I had hoped that we were done with this sort of thing after watching the tragedy unfold at UConn last season with Jasper Howard, but sadly, we are not. What apparently started as an argument outside a rec center leaves a young man dead. Sad on all fronts.
  • Exodus From Knoxville Continues: It’s normal when a new coach comes in to have a few players jump ship or change allegiances as the depth chart shuffles, the system changes, or personalities simply don’t mesh. In this offseason, it’s not only been about the quantity of transfers from Tennessee, but also the quality. Coming on the heels of Bryce Brown inexplicably leaving the roster but staying enrolled now comes news that freshman All American offensive tackle Aaron Douglas has decided that Knoxville isn’t the place for him. Kiffin recruits ’em, leaves ’em, and Derek Dooley runs ’em off. That seems like a sure-fire way to success, Tennessee. Keep up the fantastic work.
  • International Bowl… We Hardly Knew Ye: After only 4 years in the Bowl season, the International Bowl is turning out the lights and letting the bottom-dwelling Big East teams and one of the MAC’s better teams fend for themselves. Granted, the International Bowl certainly had its problems… the need for passports, expensive travel, and being, you know, outside of the US. It does cost the MAC a Bowl tie-in, though with the lack of potential quality teams in the fall, that may not be a bad thing. Interesting side note… of the four Bowl games Ball State has been to, two of them no longer exist. Watch your back, GMAC and Las Vegas Bowls.

Around the Blogosphere

  • Orson at EDSBS gives the world the most sensible equation since Pythagorean.  Gus Johnson is without question the most exciting play by play man in the business and the SEC is by far the most exciting brand of football to watch on fall Saturdays. Seriously… if one of my family members was getting married at 3:30 on a Saturday, I may have to send my regrets.
  • BlackHeartGoldPants raises the five questions that burn for the Iowa Hawkeyes heading into spring ball. What isn’t on that list, and is most pressing for me, is whether or not picking Iowa as my darkhorse national title contender next season and a spot at the top of our preseason poll will make me look like a bumbling idiot come January.
  • Notre Dame blog-o-awesome Blue-Gray Sky is hanging it up, and another of the old guard calls it quits. Here’s to hoping those guys’ first season not religiously covering their team is considerably more successful than the last couple.
  • Not football related in the least, but it is March, and basketball is ruling the day right now. As a Kentucky fan, it’s been great to see Big Blue make their rightful resurgence to the top of the pile, and Ken at A Sea of Blue sums it up nicely. Three more games and it could be quite the enjoyable Monday night for lots.

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 6

RT Logo It is time, yet again, for the best and brightest in the MAC to voice their opinions on questions posed by one of our own. This week’s host… what the hell?

kanye_west-11489Yo MAC Bloggers… I’m proud of you and Imma let you finish… but the MAC Blogger Roundtable is the best roundtable of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Thanks, Kanye. This week’s host is Kyle Warber of Fire Up Chips, a site which covers the…. drumroll… Chips of Central Michigan. Not the notoriously better Chips like Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar, or Sun Chips Garden Salsa. Regardless of their noncoverage of those tasty treats, Kyle does give excellent coverage to CMU… like they needed any more attention. *Jealous stare* This week’s roundtable takes us on a journey of winless teams, the importance of receiving stats, WMU’s bed shatting so far, and Roy Orbison Tattoos. You can check that out here.  It also features the MAC Power Poll, the now weely tradition. Our ballot and such:

  1. CMU
  2. NIU
  3. Temple
  4. Ohio
  5. WMU
  6. BG
  7. Toledo
  8. Kent
  9. Akron
  10. Buffalo
  11. Ball St.
  12. Miami
  13. EMU

Not anything exceptionally Earth shaking. I’m a little uncomfortable ranking BG only 6th, but I’m not sure if 2-4 teams deserve to be higher, regardless of how much I know about them or how good I think they are. Temple at 3 seems high, as they are not a dominant sort of team, but their record in conference now is still perfect. As for Buffalo, they will continue to be ranked at the bottom of the chart, and Lord help them when the teams below them win.

kanye_west-11489OverThePylon doesn’t care about Buffalo people.

Congrats, Kanye. You finally got something right.

Clay Travis Responds to the Criticism

Anyone who has the propensity to follow the college football universe through the lens of bloggers and non-mainstream media types I would hope is already following Clay Travis. For those that aren’t, Travis has built himself a career out of smart writing, excellent insight, and a passionate love of college football, most notably the SEC and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Clay Travis

Clay Travis

Travis is working now at AOL Fanouse, which puts his name on the same marquee as heavy hitters like Jay Mariotti and Kevin Blackistone. He’s an accomplished author with one book already a best seller in Dixieland Delight, and the upcoming On Rocky Top sure to follow. That sort of national sway and success allowed Travis to be one of the few folks privileged enough to be a stone’s throw from the coaches and players of the Southeastern Conference at their annual Media Days last week, where he managed to blow past the amount of awareness and reputation of hundreds of columns and two books with the utterance of six simple words to Florida QB Tim Tebow: Are you saving yourself for marriage?

Simple question, really. Yet, the backlash from this particular question has gone supernova in a mere matter of days. Perhaps it was who he was asking, since after all, Tim Tebow has become the messiah-like ambassador of Christian faith and values. Not by his choosing, certainly, as he simply lives his life the best way he knows how. Blame the media for this larger than life Christ-loving and Christ-like persona that goes hand in hand with Tebow, the same media who now finds it appropriate to criticize and condemn Travis’ question to the Gators signal caller.

tim tebow

Rasie your hand if waiting until marriage

I find it incredibly hypocritical of the column writers and pundits that they laud Christian values and beliefs espoused by Tebow, and then won’t allow those beliefs and values to be questioned. They made Tebow’s defining characteristic his belief and passionate following of Christ, so it’s only natural that someone ensures the storylines repetitively jammed down our throats are actually expanded and confirmed. What isn’t natural is questioning that. Doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, though I can’t say I’m surprised or shocked since the mainstream media making sense hasn’t happened for years.

Tebow, to his credit, handled the question remarkably well. He didn’t appear to be offended, didn’t stutter, answered it directly, and moved on. You know, like most every other question that was asked of him. So to me, if the person being asked doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, then why does Tony Barnhart, Dennis Dodd, and Chris Low have such a tremendous issue?

Clay Travis today responded to the criticism and also posted a video of the question itself. You can check that out here. An excerpt of Clay’s commentary:

For the record, I’d ask the same question tomorrow, the next day, and the day after. I still don’t understand why the question got more attention than the answer.

Kudos for that.

The bottom line through all of this is this again draws sort of a line in the sand between the “mainstream” media and the new media. The mainstream media seems dead set to paint Travis as reckless, disrespectful, and part of those damned bloggers that are ruining sports. In truth, Travis asked a question that was a non-issue and a virtual “So, what?” moment at worst. At best, Travis asked a question that has been bantered about sports bars and living rooms by the common fans. And that is what makes bloggers a vital necessity for the sports landscape. Bloggers give sports fans a place to congregate, a place to banter about the issues of the day, a place to be with people who are as passionate about sports and teams as any casual to serious fan.

The mainstream media can sit on their high horse and believe all they want that it isn’t really reporting unless they do it. They can think that the casual fan cannot understand the complexities or dynamics of the sports universe unless it is explained and presented by someone with a long background, education, and with seats in the press box. Unfortunately for them, with the success of authors like Clay Travis, Spencer Hall, and Brian Cook, the high horse riding media’s place in the sports universe is becoming increasingly unnecessary and virtually unneeded. And I, for one, am damn ok with that.

The Wermers Saga Continues

Transfers happen all the time in major college athletics, and frankly, most go by without so much as a raised eyebrow. Athletes transfer in, athletes transfer out, and save for superstar caliber recruits or top-level talent, most transfers just simply get reported and forgotten about, assuming they ever get reported at all. Leave it to Ball State’s newest acquisition in the transfer game, offensive lineman Kurt Wermers to blow that pattern totally off the map.

kurt wermers

Kurt Wermers

When Wermers’ transition out of the Michigan program last week made headlines, it wasn’t because he was leaving. It was because of the reasons he gave for leaving and the totally uncharacteristic evaluation he gave. Wermers tossed the staff and new athletes at UM under the bus by claiming these new sorts of personalities and leadership weren’t necessarily appealing to him. Said Wermers, “I really didn’t get along with the new coaches. They were bringing in a lot of different kids that were not my kind of crowd. Coach Carr’s staff was a whole different ballgame. It was like a family. But when Rodriguez came in it was a whole different feeling. It was more of a business. I figured I’d get out while I could.” Recruit leaves, recruit pops off, fan sites and friends of the program get pissed… end of story. Or so I had hoped. Continue reading

Some Monday Morning Randomness

Sports weekends like the last one don’t come along very often. You had the NBA Playoffs, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NASCAR, a championship boxing match, Tiger staging a Sunday come back, baseball season, and of course, the Kentucky Derby.

It’s weekends like this where I long for fall more than ever before. The sort of Saturday ritual of College Gameday, some barbecuing, and watching football until my eyes bleed through the wee hours of the morning. It’s routine. It’s tradition. It’s my autumn weekends, without fail. So as Sunday drew to a close and Monday morning dawned, there were quite a few nuggets to marinate on.

  • In perhaps the most tragic news of the weekend, the practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys collapsed amidst high winds and weather disturbances in the Dallas area. Important to readers of this blog, simply because it’s a major sports happening, but former Ball Stater Robert Brewster was attending a minicamp for rookies when the accident happened. Doug Zaleski of the Star Press chatted with Brewster after the incident, and all is fine with Robert. The same cannot be said for Rich Behm, a scout, who ESPN has confirmed is paralyzed permanently from the waist down. Tragedy all around, though no one lost a life, and you can bet that the legal battle about who or what was responsible is nowhere close to ending.
  • In Nate Davis news, the young QB went through some work this weekend with the 49ers, and while he had some cramping issues on Friday, the weekend from all accounts went well for Davis. Matt Maiocco of the San Francisco Press Democrat had this recap from the minicamp action:

    Rookie Nate Davis, recovered from his hamstring cramps of Friday, showed some nice zip on his passes. Niners outside linebacker Jay Moore made an incredible play when coming off the left side he jumped in the air to intercept Davis’ pass at point-blank range. Davis hit a wide-open Spurlock in the middle of the field. He rifled a pass to Dobson Collins that Reggie Smith broke up nicely. He threw slightly behind Zeigler, who reached back to make the catch across the middle.

  • 49ers head coach Mike Singletary had this to say in an interview with the 49ers website regarding the potential QB play of the 2009 season…

    “It matters every day. Absolutely. And, no, I’m not leaving it to Jimmy and Mike [Johnson]. We’re on the same page. Every day we talk about, ‘What do you see? What’s happening? What were the conversations?’ Because for me, it’s that quarterback that when he steps in that huddle, magic happens. There’s something that wakes up everybody. Even the young kid who’s coming in: this is what the quarterback has to do. This is what the quarterback has to be. And Nate [Davis] understands that. It’s going to be very interesting, very exciting. I’m excited for Alex [Smith]. I’m excited for Shaun [Hill]. And that competition will continue to go forward but we’re on it everyday. Because as soon as we can, we do want to announce the starter so we can move forward.”

  • Darius Hill has finally landed somewhere, signing a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill’s agent alluded to the possibility of this happening, given that Darius was impressive in his minicamp tryout for the Bengals.
  • The Daily News profiled former Ball Stater BJ Hill before the draft. As it stands now, Hill has not signed any sort of free agent deal or attended minicamp for any team. His best shot appears to be the CFL, and there have been stranger trips to the league than going the CFL route. Trey Lewis also appears headed to the CFL, as he’s been working out all over the place, with mutual reported interest from the Hamilton TigerCats.

Around the Blogosphere

  • For the Derby buffs, or for people who I’ve incessantly bothered with the “You have to go to the Derby at least once” spiel, Spencer has a great piece on Sporting News that sort of captures the feelings of the day.
  • Rich Brooks has a Twitter now. Fabulous.
  • Herr Swindle at EDSBS covers the ridiculous congressional circle jerk hearing about the BCS.
  • The good Doctor shows us how Jimmy Buffett and the Miami Hurricanes may be heading for a marriage of sheer convenience.
  • Most Kentucky fans will tell you that the QB position this fall at Kentucky will dictate the amount of success on the field the Wildcats have. Good thing Ken at A Sea of Blue gives us this preview, then!
  • A long, but good read on the state of sports “media” mainstream and otherwise from the Joe Cribbs Car Wash… incidentally one of the best blogs around.

And a little music to sate your Monday thirst for all things awesome…

ESPN Gameday… A New Wind Blowing?

For many, myself included, fall Saturdays are part sport, part silliness, but all ritual, as most have a tried and true way to get themselves mentally and metaphysically ready for the pending slate-O-awesome footballgasm that’s about to rock itself all over their face. For me, and many others, part of that ritual includes ESPN’s College Gameday.

I don’t watch Gameday simply for the analysis, though there is plenty. I don’t watch it for the investigative reporting, though there is some. I certainly don’t watch it for Kirk Herbstreit’s dreamy blue eyes, but I’m guessing more than a few do (males and females alike). I simply watch it because it is so damn entertaining. The crowds, the signs, the bus, Desmond, Coach Corso, the mascot picks, the theme music, the offhand chance that one of our teams gets talked about are all reasons why Gameday has elevated itself to MUST WATCH for me, and the bane of existence for anyone wanting to do something with me from 10am on during Saturdays.

So when this little nugget broke over at SEC Live News, I was shocked.

If the proposed changes do happen, Lee Corso is out as the mascot head-wearing former coach on the Game Day tour. Also being replaced is host Chris Fowler. According to our sources, the main sponsor of Game Day, Home Depot, is pushing for these changes and they would be announced later in the summer….

And they cap it with this…

Dr. Lou Holtz is apparently exchanging his on-air advice segment for the middle seat on the Game Day bus. He would be replacing Corso as the aging voice of reason and the man who consistently chooses the losing team. As for Fowler’s replacement, it would be the ESPN Baseball Tonight and Sports Center anchor Karl Ravech. No word on why Fowler is out or what his next move is. Additionally, Kirk Herbstreit will be moving to prime time announcing with Brent Musburger for the night games.

While in the very early stages of rumor, if this ends up being true, color me shocked, angry, and dumbfounded. Taking nothing away from the individual hopes, dreams, and wants of each of the parties involved, this seems like an awful decision for everyone, but most notably, the fans. Herbie is a fantastic color commentator on the primetime ABC games, Fowler is at times smug and condescending, and Corso is noticeably crotchety and wander-ey, but the formula they have, the chemistry they’ve built, is just simply too good to screw with.

So instead of Fowler, Corso, and Herbstreit, I’m going to get Ravech, Holtz, and a yet to be named third person, which I have to assume at this point is Mark May, the world’s foremost Notre Dame hater, and generally awful broadcaster. All of this is a crappy way to start the Tuesday, and for the sake of my sanity and happiness in the fall, I certainly hope SEC Live News misses the mark on this one.

Besides… what will Cowboy Troy do? I would imagine it’s exceptionally hard to rewrite an introduction country rap number. Another reason why you don’t put specific names in songs. And where else am I going to see national figures getting called a penis through written word?!